Nose-wrinkling souffles Essay

Even ardent cheese lovers may sniff at the idea of souffles made withstrong, aromatic cheeses not normally used for cooking. But the resultsare milder than the cooking aromas might suggest. And if you don’tnormally favor cheeses with bold character, you may find the souffle offers an unintimidating introduction. It’s also an effective wayto stretch servings or use up leftovers of these often costly cheeses.

As with any souffle, the texture is affected by the amount of cooking.If you like a soft, saucy center (a French preference), you bake thesouffle just until it looks set but still quakes when gently shaken.Baked longer, the souffle will be a darker gold and airy but firm at theheart. The richer the cheese–such as double- or triple-creamtypes–the more liquid the center in the less-cooked souffles.

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A souffle is so quickly put together it’s an idealspur-of-the-moment entree. (But you can start the sauce ahead, if youlike: to continue, reheat sauce and add cheese, then eggs.) As the souffle bakes, you’ll have time to prepare a greensalad. When the souffle is ready, you must be too–out of the oven, itrapidly deflates. Cheeses with character Following is a list of the assertive cheeses we’ve foundagreeable in souffles. The supermarket offers considerable variety, aspecialty cheese shop even more.

Creamy, rind-ripened cheeses such as brie, camembert, limburger,raclette, schloss. Slightly firm but smooth-textured cheeses such as port du salut,brick, beer, and munster. Bold blue-veined cheeses such as Roquefort and Stilton; or creamyblues such as castello and gorgonzola. Sharp-flavored ripened chevres (goat cheeses) such as bucheron orunripened montrachet. Buttery double- or triple-cream cheeses such as St. Andre, chaumes,and some bries and camemberts. Bold-Cheese Souffle About 1/4 cup (1/8 lb.

) butter or margarine 2 tablespoons gratedparmesan cheese 1/4 cup all-purpose flour 1 cup milk 6 eggs, separated 5to 7 ounces cheese with character (see preceding suggestions), broken orcut into small pieces Butter a 1 to 1-1/2-quart souffle dish or 4 individual souffledishes (1-cup size). Dust with parmesan cheese and set aside. In a 1- to 2-quart pan, melt 3 tablespoons butter over medium-highheat. Stir in flour and cook just until mixture bubbles. Remove fromheat and smoothly blend in milk. Return to medium-high heat and stiruntil sauce boils, 2 to 3 minutes. Add cheese and stir until melted. Pour in yolks and stir to blend;remove from heat.

In a large bowl, whip egg whites until they hold soft, moist peakswhen beater is lifted. Stir 1/4 of the whites into cheese sauce. Thenfold the cheese mixture into remaining whites until well blended (somesmall patches of whites are fine). Pour into prepared souffle dish ordishes. If there is less than 1/2 inch between the top of the soufflemixture and the rim of the dish, quickly prepare a collar for the dish:tear a sheet of foil several inches longer than the circumference of thedish, fold lengthwise into fourths, butter one side of foil and wrapfoil (buttered side in) securely around dish to extend a few inchesabove dish rim. Bake in a 375[deg.] oven. For a souffle with a creamy core, thesurface should be golden and dry, but the center should quiver slightlywhen gently shaken; this takes about 30 minutes for 1- to 1-1/2-quartsize, 15 minutes for 1-cup size.

For a souffle that is evenly setthroughout and richly browned, allow about 45 minutes flor the largersize, 20 minutes for the smaller. Serve immediately. Makes 4 servings.

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